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OPINION

Americans, Not Conservatives, Strike Back

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AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Conservative activists are excited about the boycott of Bud Light. Anheuser-Busch, the beer maker, branded a can of Bud Light for a transgender activist, Dylan Mulvaney. Mulvaney, biologically male, celebrated his first year living as a "woman." The week a transgender activist murdered six people in Nashville, Tennessee, Bud Light produced its Mulvaney-themed can. The backlash started.

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Bud Light beer sales collapsed nationwide. Last week, sales were down over 20%. The week before, they were also down over 20%. Some grocery stores are so desperate to unload inventory that they are running "buy one, get one free" sales and still cannot sell the product. A bar owner tells me his local Anheuser-Busch distributor has gone from daily deliveries to weekly deliveries, and the bar owner cannot give away his supply of Bud Light.

The Wall Street Journal this past week reported that Anheuser-Busch "has pledged to boost its marketing spending on Bud Light, accelerate production of a new slate of ads, and give a case of Bud Light to every employee of an Anheuser-Busch wholesaler." The paper also noted, "In the week ended April 22, Bud Light's U.S. retail-store sales fell 21.4% compared with the year-earlier period, according to an analysis of Nielsen data by Bump Williams Consulting. Meanwhile, sales of rival brands Coors Light and Miller Lite each grew about 21%." Sales of other Anheuser-Busch brands have also been affected.

Conservatives are crowing, but the reality is this is no conservative backlash or conservative boycott. The online Right may seek to take credit, but the online and offline Right are, frankly, terrible at boycotts. This is a boycott by Americans. It is a warning for progressives who keep pushing the trans agenda.

In 2016, Target announced it would allow men to use women's bathrooms at Target stores. Americans responded so aggressively against Target that the company spent $20 million to renovate bathrooms and add single-stall, private restrooms. The company denied it saw any boycott or consumer backlash, then reported a 7% decline in store sales.

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Americans, not just conservatives, are worn out by and upset over the constant in-your-face narcissism and bullying of the trans community. Alissa Heinerscheid, Bud Light's marketing boss, belittled Bud Light consumers as "too fratty" and sought to broaden the appeal of the brand to a consumer category that makes up less than 1% of Americans. Anheuser-Busch's CEO responded with a non-apology apology and trotted out the Clydesdales and American flags. Consumers were having none of it.

Most Americans are not plugged in to social media and engaged in either progressive or conservative politics. Americans, however, did hear the story from conservative outlets and, only later, mainstream news outlets covered it. Americans did not need conservatives to call for a boycott any more than they did in 2016 with Target. But unlike Target and a compliant media insisting a 7% decline in sales at Target could not be truly traced to a consumer backlash, there is no denying it this time.

Americans are signaling they are not down with the trans agenda. They do not want their beer politicized. The Fairfax Bar and Grill in Bloomington, Indiana, is not a watering hole for the Right; it is just a bar filled with average Americans. But the bar told patrons if they were offended by Bud Light's Dylan Mulvaney product placement they needed to stay away.

"Unfortunately due to all of the bigotry and hatred that has surfaced around the Bud Light controversy any patron wanting to voice their concerns about the issue will be immediately asked to pay their bill and leave our establishment," the bar's owner wrote on Facebook. So many people stayed away that the bar had to walk it back and apologize. The bar's management admitted it had lost business.

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Progressives are highly likely to boycott. It's a religious event for them akin to the Lenten season. Americans in general do not engage in major boycotts. That they did on this issue a second time should be a warning sign to corporate America. The nation is not divided on trans issues, but rather fairly united against the agenda.

To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.


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